You wrote a great book, one that everybody and their mother should read. But nobody is reading it . . . including your mother! What gives?! Sometimes great books aren’t read because of timing; sometimes they aren’t read because the pricing is all wrong; and sometimes it’s just placed in the wrong category. For the majority of books, however, the reason comes down to not knowing who your book's audience is.
There’s a lot of talk about audiobooks lately as they’re one of the few sectors of the publishing world that’s seen steady growth. And all signs say they’re going to keep getting bigger. But the big question for indie authors is: does the benefit of creating an audiobook justify the cost? It absolutely can, but you have to look at the bigger picture and see how audiobooks are more than just a royalty generator – they can be an excellent resource to expand the reach of your book marketing efforts and create pathways to new audiences.
Book marketing tools should be part of your comprehensive marketing plan. A plan based on research, knowing your audience, and monitoring absolutely every marketing component you undertake.
If you are looking for a new source of income from your book, you might want to consider libraries. Libraries in the US are experiencing a huge surge in foot traffic. Public librarians are seeing a lot more patrons and their checkout rates are skyrocketing. Need more good news? Their budgets are going up too. In many cities, the annual budget for libraries is increasing and libraries are opening new locations and reopening at historical rates.
When it comes to social media marketing, even though I am personally comfortable using it and have been successful in my marketing efforts through a range of channels, I sometimes feel at a loss when authors specifically ask me what they should do. It’s like trying to tell people how to be themselves or how they should behave in public—we’re all quite different. However, it is easy to tell authors what they shouldn't do on social media.
Endorsements are a powerful no-cost book marketing strategy. Have you ever seen a book cover where the name of the celebrity providing an endorsement for the book was larger than the author’s name? This little trick is used to catch a book buyer’s eye because publishers know that big names sell books. I have found that this effective book marketing strategy is underutilized by independently published authors. A recent informal survey I conducted of independently published books showed that only 20 percent (1 in 5) touted an endorsement. As an author, you should seek endorsements for your book.
Most people are surprised to learn that search engines look inside all of the documents and applications they publish on the web for clues about their contents. Almost all applications let you edit the metadata associated with the document, though they might not call it metadata, and editing that metadata can help boost your book discoverability.
I’ve written before about how important I think it is for authors to use Twitter as part of their outreach and social media marketing, both to each other and to readers. At the corporate level, investors are looking for more revenue, while at the user level, the 10-year-old platform remains a busy point of discoverability for writers and beyond. One of the best-hidden and most helpful features, however, is the frequently overlooked Twitter analytics offering.
Achieving book discoverability with readers means making search engines aware of you and your book. You may have heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as being important to your website; that IS book discoverability. Discoverability is your biggest marketing partner as it provides reliable, continuous passive marketing. Successful book discoverability means that your readers can find you simply by entering words that describe your book into a search engine. It’s a disservice to you and your book if you don’t leverage these words for your benefit.
Metadata and keywords might seem scary, but they’re really only the words and phrases that you use to describe yourself and your book. Your book metadata will consist of basic things such as your title, author name, author bio, book description, publication date, etc. Keywords are one or more words used to indicate the content of your book. Simply put, metadata and keywords are what make your book appear when a reader goes looking for a specific thing, whether that thing is a book or not.